“The stuff on new materialism–I noted this at several times during the conference–has run its course. Liz Grosz talked about the pain of rocks, Barad discussed the unconscious of protons…we have moved to the stage where there’s no method for the use of these terms, except anthropomorphism. I almost want to analyze why certain figures (and there were many at the conference) want to arrive at the conclusion that rocks have a world, etc. There are conclusions we don’t want to reach in this world: the rich only get richer, the frustration at work may just be leftover angst from one’s parental relation, racism will never end, etc. And then there’s this stuff about the pain of rocks and it having a “pure auto-affection”–it’s a conclusion that seems wanted at this moment. I’ll have to think this more through, but count me as incredibly dubious: it doesn’t multiply the differences in the world but in fact says to the world, you’re great, you’re like us. Martin Hägglund, who also gave a great talk, and I chatted about this quite a bit. (In any case, there’s an easy way out of not doing anthropomorphism, at least one from the tradition that inspires new materialists: just go Spinoza and say there are many more attributes to the modes than simply mind and body. And thus a rock’s self-relation may be many things that we cannot gather given our own attributes.) “
Was stillborn from my perspective, can we move on now to the pressing tasks at hand?